Press Release
May 23, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today expressed regret that Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr. has not discontinued the grant of so-called congressional medals on visiting foreign dignitaries despite being reminded about its questionable basis.

Pimentel said the awarding of the congressional medals is tantamount to misrepresentation because while it is supported by a resolution of the House of Representatives, it has no counterpart resolution from the Senate.

Speaker De Venecia may grant medals from the House of Representatives as his fancy leads him but he has no right to pass them off as congressional medals because it has no Senate authorization. Its political estafa to do so, he said.

Media reports said the House Speaker was set to confer the Philippine Congressional Medal on Director General Koichiro Matsuura of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization on the occasion of the UNESCO-International Theater Institute Inter-cultural Congress at the Manila Hotel today.

The same medal was conferred by De Venecia on Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo last Friday on the occasion of his state visit to the country.

Pimentel reproached the House speaker for his practice of awarding congressional medals without bothering to secure a Senate imprimatur and acting as if Congress consists only of one chamber, like the unicameral parliament that he has been dreaming about.

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